Saturday, December 24, 2011

ReView of TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer The Twilight Saga

The 'Twilight Saga' is definitely THE current phenomenon of the present day teenager.  It is the #1 NY Times Bestseller in print, the movies have gained immense ground in the lives of all teenagers around the country, and the fascination with vampires has been and continues to be a general cultural intrigue considering there is a whole genre on vampires designated to books, movies, and even television shows.  Even so, does the 'Twilight Saga' merit a place on the shelf next to 'Harry Potter' and 'The Chronicles of Narnia,' and even 'The Lord of the Rings', especially in the English classroom, as optional reading?  This is where the 'Twilight Saga' has been propped several years in the making.  If not for anything more, the fascination with reading the 'Twilight Saga' should begin for the sake of knowing why it has gained such momentum in the lives of our teenagers, and what kind of intangible influence it might have on them.

This book binds you to a spell of feelings, emotions, and a tumultuous inner soup of butterflies.  The main character, Bella Swan, is a somewhat frail and insecure teenager who moves in with her father in a town that she's only visited here and there a couple of times before, and the last time was years ago.  The author succeeds in getting you to feel for her, for her loneliness, for her outsider place in life.  But she seems fairly intelligent and independent-she enjoys being alone and doesn't quite need the company of 'friends,' she focuses on getting her homework accomplished as needed, she cooks and sets dinner for her father, and seems to have it pretty together as she keeps in touch with her mother.  Only here's the catch, her life is fairly empty and boring, no activities, no interests, no involvements or passions, until Edward, the smoldering and gorgeous vampire becomes her main focus of every day life leaving all else aside-friends, family, and school.  At this point, a back-and-forth of angry-one-moment-and-smothering-the-next relationship between Bella and Edward begins and drives the whole book into what it is. The theme of the 'forbidden apple' unfolds before your eyes, where Edward is meant to be forbidden since he's a monster and dangerous. He tells Bella to stay away from him, while on the other hand he's irresistibly drawn to her.  She's attracted to him for his beautiful demeanor and presence, and feels deeper feelings for him than she knows to recognize at first, while at the same time she's utterly confused and fearful at times even if she passes it off as brave. It is this dynamic that is responsible for the unruly attraction to the plot.

The most satisfying element of the book is its pacing and prose, more so than the plot at times.  In this book, the fashion in which the characters, the story, the dynamics, and topics are introduced and delivered to the reader matters tremendously.  This, after all, is just another vampire story.  One subtle yet effective element of delivery is each vampire's birth interspersed throughout the book.  Each vampire's history is introduced sporadically along the book with its place well-defined and carefully added to give a little more dimension to the plot.  Another element is the ability of the author to take mundane subjects and deliver them to you with unexpected imagery, taking you by surprise but also on a subtle journey of the imagination.  Among the many examples in the book, here are a few to entertain your curiosity.  "I just couldn't keep little sprouts of hope from budding in my mind." "My heart thudded, stuttered, and then picked up again in double time." "His liquid topaz eyes were penetrating - trying futilely, I assumed, to lift the truth straight from my mind." "The cabbie's questions punctured my fantasy, letting all the colors run out of my lovely delusions.  Fear, bleak, and hard, was waiting to fill the empty space they left behind."

There are many controversial viewpoints regarding this book, but with all books, something or other is always worth taking away.  The author has managed to write in a few subjects 'to chew on.'  These are topics you can pull out from the book, discuss and analyze, and even have a platform of discussion from them.  If this book can pleasantly surprise you, it's most likely to be at this point.  While this is a strongly emotionally driven book, it's bound to give a teenager a little something here and there to think about.  One of the strongest points is the topic of addictions and being abstinent.  Another is the topic of what is right, moral, ethical versus what we want in life as it may go against the former. Then there's the topic of resisting what 'you....are,' resisting your most inner self and not giving in to your darkest desires and 'evils,' to be a better human being, 'to try to retain whatever essential humanity we can.'  One last subject to 'chew on,' is the thought that 'for everyone, the pain of transformation is the sharpest memory they have of their human life.'

Under parental, or adult supervision, this is a fairly deserving book to read.  It's a book that crosses age boundaries, so it's even possible to say that it could traverse from just a young adult book to a family book-club option with plenty of topics for discussion.  Curious to see how book II, 'New Moon,' is.

Bookserk by Author

Milan Kundera (4) Jane Austen (3) Stephenie Meyer (3) Suzanne Collins (3) Bernhard Schlink (2) F. Scott Fitzgerald (2) H.G. Wells (2) Herman Hesse (2) JRR Tolkien (2) Jules Verne (2) Khaled Hosseini (2) Paulo Coelho (2) Sam Kean (2) Stieg Larsson (2) Sylvia Day (2) A.G. Howard (1) Adam Johnson (1) Alafair Burke (1) Albert Einstein (1) Alexander Soderberg (1) Alicia Hendley (1) Amanda Hocking (1) Andre Dubus III (1) Ann Patchett (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Azar Nafisi (1) Barbara Kingsolver (1) Becky Aikman (1) Camilla Lackberg (1) Carl Sagan (1) Cat Hellisen (1) Charles Webb (1) Charlotte Bronte (1) Chinua Achebe (1) Chris Prentiss (1) Chrisanna Northrup (1) Christopher S. Stewart (1) Clare Clark (1) Clive Barker (1) Coltaire Rapaille (1) Dai Sijie (1) Daniel J. Levitin (1) Daniel Kahneman (1) Daniel Pink (1) David Foster Wallace (1) David Levithan (1) David Sedaris (1) Debra Driza (1) Domenica Ruta (1) Don Miguel Ruiz (1) Douglas Adams (1) Elie Weisel (1) Emily Bronte (1) Emlyn Chand (1) Enid Shomer (1) Epictetus (1) George Orwell (1) George R.R. Martin (1) Greg Graffin (1) Gretchen Rubin (1) Harper Lee (1) Haruki Murakami (1) Herman Koch (1) JR Moehringer (1) Jane Eyre (1) Jennifer Egan (1) Jodi Meadows (1) John Eldredge (1) John Englander (1) John Kenney (1) John Steinbeck (1) John T Cacioppo (1) Joyce Carol Oates (1) Judy Blume (1) Julia Glass (1) Karen Thompson Walker (1) Karol Jackowski (1) Kate Chopin (1) Kate Walbert (1) Katherine Boo (1) Lauren DeStefano (1) Lisa See (1) Lois Lowry (1) Lou Marinoff PhD (1) Madhulika Sikka (1) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Margot Livesey (1) Marissa Meyer (1) Martha Stout (1) Mary Roach (1) Mary Shelley (1) Meg Howrey (1) Megan Abbott (1) Natalie Babbitt (1) Nujood Ali (1) Oliver Harris (1) Paulo Giordano (1) Poet Charles Swain (1) Poet Margaret E. Sangster (1) Priscille Sibley (1) Ray Bradbury (1) Rebecca Dean (1) Richard Francis (1) Robert Louis Stevenson (1) Robert M. Pirsig (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Sarah Gruen (1) Sharon Lebell (1) Shirley MacLaine (1) Stasi Eldredge (1) Stephen Chbosky (1) Sue Kidd Monk (1) Susan Cain (1) Susanna Calahan (1) Tara Conklin (1) Tea Obreht (1) Terri Giuliano Long (1) Thrity Umrigar (1) Victoria Hislop (1) Virginia Morell (1) Voltaire (1) Zora Neale Hurston (1)

Bookserk Globally

Bookserk by Publishing House

Harper Perennial Publishing (8) Random House Publishing (7) Crown Publishing (6) Little Brown and Company Publishing (6) Harper Publishing (4) Knopf Publishing (4) Scholastic Press Publishing (4) Vintage Publishing (4) W.W. Norton Company Publishing (4) Anchor Publishing (3) Atria Books Publishing (3) Free Press Publishing (3) HarperCollins Publishing (3) Penguin Books Publishing (3) Riverhead Books Publishing (3) Ballantine Books Publishing (2) Bantam Books Publishing (2) BarnesNoble Classics Publishing (2) Broadway Publishing (2) Harmony Publishing (2) Harper Paperback Publishing (2) Hyperion Publishing (2) Katherine Tegen Books Publishing (2) Simon and Schuster Publishing (2) William Morrow Publishing (2) Algonquin Books Publishing (1) Amber Allen Publishing (1) Amulet Books Publishing (1) Berkley Trade Publishing (1) Blue Crown Press Publishing (1) Createspace Publishing (1) Crown Business Publishing (1) Del Rey Publishing (1) Dover Publishing (1) Ember Publishing (1) Faber and Faber Publishing (1) Farrar Straus Giroux Publications (1) Feiwel Friends Publishing (1) Five Rivers Chapmanry Publishing (1) Gallery Books Publishing (1) Grand Central Publishing (1) HarperOne (1) Hill and Wang Publishing (1) Hogarth Publishing (1) It Books Publication (1) MJF Books Publishing (1) MTV books and Pocket Books Publishing (1) McGraw Hill Higher Education Publishing (1) Nelson Publishing (1) Pamela Dorman Books Publishing (1) Pantheon Publishing (1) Plaza Y Janes Publishing (1) Plume Publishing (1) Pocket Publishing (1) Puffin Publishing (1) Quill Publishing (1) Reagan Arthur Books Publishing (1) Science Bookshelf Publishing (1) Signet Classics Publishing (1) St. Martin's Press Publishing (1) Touchstone Publishing (1) Virago Publishing (1) Washington Square Press Publishing (1)